Bella Brantley, a local 8th grader, recently spent nine hours removing a fallen banyan tree from the roofs of Hurricane Ian survivors. She is part of a volunteer group that is a member of the Ocala Florida Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that has helped those affected by the hurricane. She said her volunteer work has been as beneficial to her as it has been to storm survivors: “Service is humbled by helping those in need, and it keeps me going.” It makes me a better person,” Brantley said. “Service has greatly improved my life. I know that anyone who provides service with the right intentions can do the same. traveled throughout Florida, helping with debris removal, roof tarps, repairs, and prayers.
Nancy Winninger and her husband traveled to Naples over the weekend of October 15-16 to help out.
Winninger, assistant communications director for the Ocala Florida Stake, said: “It feels good to help someone in need.”
Since Ian hit Florida on September 28th, the Ocala Florida Stake, including The Village, has been actively offering service and prayers. During the first few days, members of the Ocala Florida Stake focused on the local area, checking on neighbors and picking up debris around their homes.
“Normally, when there is an event, we ‘supply oxygen first’ by helping those in need nearby, and then reach out to the ‘ground zero’ if instructed by the leader. Communications Council of the Ocala Florida Stake: “This will give the affected areas time to assess their needs.”
Members of the Ocala Florida Stake also support Crisis Cleanup, a platform that helps more people by enabling coordinated disaster recovery. Crisis Cleanup launched its Home His Cleanup Hotline on September 28th with the hope that most volunteer groups will be active until his October 28th.
“You can request services like debris removal and roof tarpaulin,” says Harmon. “A work order is then created and submitted to volunteers for assignment.”
And when local Latter-day Saint leaders allowed volunteers to travel to the affected areas to help those in need, there was a strong response from Church members.
Since early October, nearly 7,000 volunteers from 500 LDS congregations in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina have served Ian’s impacted communities in Florida.
Volunteers did everything from clearing debris and removing fallen trees to removing drywall and flooring.
Also, Church National leaders in Salt Lake City, Utah, provided 13 semi-truck-loaded equipment to Florida, including chainsaws, generators, water, and other supplies.
Ocala Florida Stake President Darrell Brantley said: “The scriptures teach that when you serve your fellowmen, you are only serving your God. We will continue to serve you so that we can serve you.”
Volunteers in the Ocala Florida Stake vary in age and experience, but they all agree that helping is important.
“The experience is always the same: gratitude for being able to serve those in need,” said Betty Lou Landes, a stake volunteer who has helped in past disasters. “We are grouped together to go out and work as one team with one mission in mind: to love each other.”
Senior Writer James Dinan can be reached at extension 352-753-1119. 5302, or email@example.com.